SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ - Again it came down to Katie Grierson in goal facing penalty kicks that could end Ridge's season.
And again, the senior goalie came through.
Grierson made a pair of saves, and Anna Hess and Ally Friedman each converted goals in the PK shootout that enabled the fourth-seeded Ridge girls soccer team to advance with a victory over third-seeded Scotch Plains-Fanwood in the NJSIAA Section 2, Group 4 championship game on Friday.
Ridge (13-4-4) will face Livingston in the state Group 4 semifinals Tuesday at 5 p.m. in Somerville. Ridge and Livingston played to a 1-1 tie during the regular season.
The teams had battled to a 0-0 draw through 100 minutes, including two overtime periods, before resorting to PKs, where Ridge outscored SPF, 2-1. Ridge had prevailed in PKs over Westfield in the sectional semifinals on Tuesday, also after 100 scoreless minutes, and also with Grierson making some spectacular saves in the shootout. Westfield and Scotch Plains-Fanwood (18-0-4) were both undefeated.
"Katie joined us on varsity this year," said Ridge coach Katie Donahue. "Our JV coach said she was the guttiest player he'd ever seen. She has had wrist and knee injuries this year. Usually, Ally Lindsey starts in goal for us, then Katie brings it home for us."
In very windy conditions, these two traditional soccer powerhouses, who had met in the sectional final in both 2012 (Ridge won in PKs) and 2014 (SPF won in the second OT), saw their scoring chances severely limited Friday. Emma Wightman of Ridge had a shot turned away by SPF keeper Andrea Leitner with 23 minutes left in the second half. Scotch Plains nearly won it with a point blank shot that sailed over the net five minutes into the second OT.
Along the way, Donahue credited the rock solid midfield play of Sam Weyrauch, Julia Lindsey and Wightman with keeping a Raider team with several dangerous scoring threats in check.
(More coverage to follow)